"Hey, can you whip up this cake a week before Christmas?" Sometimes, my customers make me laugh right out loud. The cake (both the base and the mole hill - not quite a mountain) are chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. I used good old plain coloured vanilla buttercream to cover the cake as well. The waterfall has a blue icing background and is covered in coloured piping gel (I'm still not sure if I should have used a lighter colour for that). The rocks are actually chocolate and can be purchased from your local bulk foods store (great for gingerbread houses!). The trees are not edible, but my time was a little limited this week.
This summer I had the extreme pleasure of meeting a new co-worker and a fantastic lady named Ann (or Miss Annie to me). Ann had 20 years in at the new company I started working for and she had chosen last Friday as her much deserved retirement date. When I was asked if I would make the cake for her celebration, I initially thought it was for our little group of sales support specialists - but, no, I was wrong. The night before the cake was due, I realized that this was for the ENTIRE company. Oh boy.... This was the first real baking project I'd done for my new work family and I was nervous! I didn't have much to go on either, since I had only had the pleasure of knowing Miss Annie for a few short months. The girls in the office were able to find out that her favourite colour was yellow and she was not fond of roses (which is good, because the rose is the cake decorator's go-to flower). I'm happy with how the cake turned out, even if I did have to miss our Christmas dinner. We will miss you very much Miss Annie!
A couple of weeks ago a friend asked for a small, simple buttercream cake for her birthday. She just wanted vanilla cake with vanilla icing with 'Happy Birthday to ME' or some such written on it. It sounded like an easy request, so I happily agreed. A few days later she sent me an email saying she had tasted the Gucci cake and liked the coconut icing. She was up for a little flavour in her cake - anything but chocolate (weird!), so I suggested my new favourite: Lime. I decided to get just a bit funky by adding some gum paste accents and a sparkler (not shown here).
I am a very lucky girl. Thanks to the generous going away gift from my friends at LMS (hi guys!) I was able to sign up for "The Australian Method" class at McCall's School of decorating. I thought this would be a good chance to practice my piping skills, and learn some old school techniques. I didn't realize the final product would be so ugly :) Though, I suppose its how I apply the techniques going forward that counts. This cake was definitely an exercise in frustration. You have to build the cake in stages, starting with the lower bridge and then piping the connecting lines. This isn't as easy as it sounds! Many of the lines would break mid string and you would have to start over. I think my record was 6 attempts for one line. Then when you finally got the bugger on there and moved to the next line, that one would fall and take out the previous one with it! My extra special favourite is when the lines would fall *behind* all the other lines. The class was very small, but the muttering of curses was loud. I learned a lot, that's for sure. The biggest lesson being - don't be the last person to the ribbon bin!
I baked my first cookie at the age of 5, and have been in love ever since. The smiles on people's faces when they taste my creations is what keeps my passion alive!